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0000017a-3b40-d913-abfe-bf44a4f90000Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU news team as the politics reporter and columnist in April 2012 , after 30 years of covering local, state and national politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. On this page, you will find his weekly column, Politically Speaking; the Monday morning political chats with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik and other news coverage by Wilkinson. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio gubernatorial race since 1974, as well as 16 presidential nominating conventions. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots, the Lucasville prison riot in 1993, the Air Canada plane crash at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983, and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. And, given his passion for baseball, you might even find some stories about the Cincinnati Reds here from time to time.

How the parking referendum petition process works

Here's how it works:

The magic number is 8,522.

That is how many valid signatures of voters in the city of Cincinnati that opponents of the ordinance to lease out Cincinnati parking meters and garages need to place a referendum on the ordinance on the November ballot.

The petitions are filed with the city finance director. Amy Murray, a Republican city council candidate who is one of the leaders of the petition drive, said they plan to submit their signatures to the finance director on Tuesday of next week.

City spokeswoman Meg Olberding said the city will follow the procedures set out by Ohio law. That means the finance director's office will time-stamp the petitions and hold them for 10 days before delivering them to the Hamilton County Board of Elections. The petitions will be public documents and open to inspection by members of the public.

Amy Searcy, director of Hamilton County Board of Elections, said her office will then check the signatures against the voter rolls to see if there are 8,522 valid signatures. The process, Searcy said, should take about a week.